Hundreds of Kashmiris answering the call of the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) were marching yesterday towards the Line of Control (LoC) – the de facto border between Pakistan and India.
The rally billed as “Freedom March” is protesting New Delhi’s move to scrap the special status of Indian-administered Kashmir and the imposition of curfew in the territory since August 5.
The march is organised by the JKLF, a group that is led by pro-independence leader Yasin Malik, who is at present held in detention in Indian-administered Kashmir.
The marchers, who gathered in Muzaffarabad, the capital of Azad Jammu Kashmir, plan to cross the LoC to Srinagar, the capital of Indian-administered Kashmir.
The participants of the march reached Garhi Dupatta, a small town in Muzaffarabad, yesterday.
A day earlier, Prime Minister Imran Khan repeated his warning that anyone crossing the LoC from Azad Jammu and Kashmir, even if it is to provide humanitarian aid or support for the Kashmiri struggle against aggression, will play into the hands of the Indian narrative.
In a post on Twitter, the prime minister stressed that he understood the anguish of the people of Kashmir who were seeing their brethren across the LoC struggle to deal with the curfew imposed on them by the Indian authorities since August.
“I understand the anguish of the Kashmiris in Azad Jammu and Kashmir seeing their fellow Kashmiris in (Indian-administered Kashmir) under an inhumane curfew for over two months.
“But anyone crossing the LoC from Azad Jammu and Kashmir to provide humanitarian aid or support for Kashmiri struggle will play into the hands of the Indian narrative,” he wrote on Twitter.
Last month, the prime minister had urged United Nations and other international fora to take serious action against the illegal and unilateral steps taken by India in Indian-administered Kashmir to avoid any human tragedy.
Meanwhile, Pakistan has rejected Indian ministry of external affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar’s remarks on Prime Minister Khan’s statements and on other Kashmir and Pakistan-related issues.
In a statement, Kumar had termed Khan’s statements regarding the abrogation of Article 370 of the Indian constitution as “provocative”.
A Pakistan Foreign Office statement said: “Exposing India’s egregious behaviour and state terrorism in Indian-occupied Jammu and Kashmir is part of our international obligations and our moral responsibility to the Kashmiri victims of Indian repression.”
It added that if India feels provoked, it is only because India is “unwilling to face the truth about its indefensible actions that are driven by the toxic mix of extremist ideology and hegemonic ambitions.”
“Equally reprehensible are India’s pretensions of casting itself as a ‘normal’ country.
“The international community would like to ask as to what normal country cages 8mn people in an inhuman lockdown for over two months and deceives the world by claiming that ‘everything is fine’.”
“Similarly, what normal country provides space and political patronage to the perpetrators of mob lynchings by cow vigilantes and repugnant schemes like gharwapsi and ‘love jihad’?” it said.
The Foreign Office further said that India would be well-advised to keep its lectures on diplomacy and normality to itself.
Meanwhile, US Senator Chris Hollen has said his country is supporting Pakistan’s demand to resolve the Kashmir issue according to the wishes of Kashmiri people.
He stated this at a meeting with Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, along with a delegation of other US senators in Multan.
Hollen said the world is well aware of the situation in Kashmir and US President Donald Trump has offered to play his role in resolving the issue.
He said that politicians and journalists should be allowed to visit the Indian-administered Kashmir to get first-hand information about the situation there.
Qureshi said that Prime Minister Khan has raised his voice against the Indian “brutalities” in Indian-administered Kashmir at each and every forum in the world.
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